Work / Masonite / Door Configurator

Door Configurator

Simplifying the remodeling experience

Creating compatabile doors through a simpler, responsive, and accessible interface

2019 - Present
Background πŸ“‹

Before we dive into the product, we should probably understand the goals of Advisar, a child company of it’s parent, Masonite - a global builder of doors.

Masonite is in the business of manufacturing and selling high-volumes of doors to distributors, such as The Home Depot and Lowe’s.

But in 2017, Masonite wanted to begin testing products downchannel to contractors and homeowners - so they formed a small internal incubator that would serve as β€œbeta test” with a single goal in mind:

Objective:

To identify numerous attributes of the customer experience to better understand the value and buying behaviors consumers and contractors associate with specifying, ordering, designing, finishing, delivering and installing door systems

My Role
I joined the Advisar team in early 2019 as the sole designer on a development team made up of 8 engineers, a development manager, 2 QA engineers, and a product owner.

My first project was to tackle our exterior door configurator experience, which had built up a mountain of design/tech debt from months of ad hoc business requirements and a research-less process. Like many products, our design challenge was to answer how to make configuring a complex product simple for our users.

I was tasked with the redesign, user research, and validating the product strategy. I thought this would be a great project to implement Google Ventures' Lean User Research framework - with the small size of our team and a large amount of work, it was important that we validate ideas before moving forward.

After starting design ideation and research in June 2019, we worked through the year to ship the new version in late December 2019.

Our starting point - the previous version of the exterior door configurator

Chargeback Process



What is the Exterior Door Configurator? πŸšͺ

The exterior door configurator is an app that allows our users to build a custom door and quickly assess their new door per their unique specifications.

After configuring a door, our contractor clients are able to add the item to a lead/quote under the Advisar platform.

Discovery and Research πŸ“

Before jumping into a complete redesign of the configurator interface, we needed to assess why the current interface was struggling to scale for our clients - home-remodeling contractors.

We needed to dive into the sales process of our users, the problems our users were having in the current interface, and the reliability and performace issues of the app.

Pain Points
Creating a door from start to finish is tedious
Users must sift through numerous amounts of options before viewing the current mock of the door.
Not optimized for fluid, mobile screens
Users may be utilizing many different size devices (from small phones to tablets) when using the configurator.
Prevents discoverability
Previously configured options may prevent clients from seeing further options for which they might opt.
UI not consistent
The style of the configurator interface differs greatly from that of the Core application for contractors.

We also discovered from our contractors that an exterior door is usually a "tack-on" to a home-remodel. A majority of the time, a door is secondary to other major remodels, eg. kitchen, patio.

Knowing that, we made sure to remember that we wanted the experience of this app to be somewhat transparent and simple - contractors and homeowners had more pressing matters on their mind with a remodel project, so we needed users to be able to find what they want quickly and move along.

The research also identified the value propositions of our personas

Personas



Use Cases πŸ‘©β€πŸ«

Our research and qualitative interviews identified the use cases for our clients:

I am a Contractor and I want to build and purchase a door for a client.

I am a Contractor and I want to show my client a door they can purchase through Advisar.

I am a General Consumer and I want to build and view a custom door.

Goals 🎯

Our high-level goal for this project was to understand door-buying patterns, as well as simplify the ordering/customization experience.

After digging through our research, we also wanted to address a few other goals through our redesign:

  • Sensible defaults for a simpler experience
  • Give higher priority to certain options (e.g. Color, Glass, Style)
  • Utilize a non-linear configurator pattern for faster configuration
  • Prioritize the discoverability of options by showing disabled options
  • Standardize user interface styles to better match the core application
  • Optimize configurator for use on tablets and phones
Design Ideation πŸ‘¨β€πŸŽ¨

Now that we understood the pain points and defined what we wanted for the experience of the configurator, we began iterating on the design.

One of our major goals, realized through our user interviews, was that consumers prioritized some options more than others. Glass, Color, and Design far outweighed other options, such as molding, jamb depth, and hardware. By giving higher prioirity to these options in the interface, we could allow for better context and promote the discoverability of our product options.

We also wanted users to be able to select and choose options from any point in the configurator. Previously, a user would funnel down selections - where the UI would remove further options based on if that option was compatible. If a client wanted to choose between various options, they would have to click many steps back and proceed forward step-by-step, once again 😭.

Strangely, this also meant we had to break a UX pattern in order to provide a better experience:

Hick's Law
The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices.
πŸ‘†yeah, we broke that rule
We filtered down to three main ideas for the new layout, prioritizing Glass, Finish, and Design of a door

Wireframes



In a mobile view, users are able to card swipe through door styles - lending to common mobile patterns and simple usability

Mobile Layout



We also wanted to promote the discoverability of our products by not filtering options out as a user proceeds

Filtering



Each of our presented ideas split the door building process into 3 major steps, rather than the multitude of complex steps in the older version:

Step 1:
Design your door
Step 2:
Select door details
Step 3:
Finish & Order

To test these ideas before development, we began testing sessions using Figma prototypes - first with our internal teams, and subsequently contractors. We used Airtable (πŸ‘) to keep track of feedback, where we found areas of the product that were confusing to our users.

User interview session data using Airtable to track

research



The Redesign ✨

After iterating on the design, we dialed down onto many decisions that would help make building a door simpler:

A door is always configured
By using our compatability index, a user will always have a door configured, even when on step 1. This means even with no configuration, a user can directly move to purchase.
Option priority and filtering
We wanted to promote discoverability and separate the door options with higher value (glass, finish, design). Doing so let us move this into a single view, where the majority of our users' time will be spent.
Fluid layout
Our research showed that contractors mainly used tablets and large phones - they were usually sitting with the homeowner while selling a remodel project.
In Step 1, users are able to select glass, finish, and design options, as well as filter for hurricane rating, layout, size, and other build specs

Step 1



Step 2 of the configurator focuses on the manufacturing details - molding, trim, hardware, etc.

Step 2 mobile



Step 2



On Step 3, users are able to review the specifications before adding to a quote. Clicking an item will direct them back to modify the parameters of that setting

Step 3



Key features 🀩

After shipping the first iteration of the configurator, there were still friction points holding back contractors from ordering products.

Our color/finish offerings were limited, and customers needed a way to paint their high-quality doors with more options, per their preference or HOA requirements. Understanding that, we needed to know how contractors not only receive the Sherwin Williams color information, but also figure out how this can be integrated into our fixed-option layout.

Sometimes HOA's give a list of color codes that are able to be used in their neighborhood, but other times, users may choose to explore options - so we needed to design a flexible way to navigate through either path.

Selecting custom paint options by exact code or by exploring through color family

Custom Colors



Custom Colors



What if a homeowner's entryway size doesn't match one of the fixed door sizes in our offerings?

This was something that was also holding back contractors from using our configurator. We needed a way for users to be able to fine tune the height of a door per their clients' various entryway sizes.

Along with reconfiguring our operational and manufacturing procedures, we also added a way to trim a door by units of 1/8", up to 3".

Users can add a custom trim to fit the exact size of their clients' homes

Trimmable Doors



The design for the new configurator also coincided with the redesign of our core application. With that came a redesigned dark mode that rectified UI inconsistencies and usability issues.

Dark mode



Feedback πŸ’¬

After rounds of QA testing and usability polishes, we shipped the new configurator in late 2019. We immediately received feedback from our clients and support teams, and to our surprise, it went very well.

But even though praise is great and should be celebrated as a job-well-done by the team, I thought we should take a closer look into the feedback that was poor - from those whose processes were disrupted because of "a completely new way of doing things". Dealing with change can be difficult - we’ve all experienced it πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ.

How do we accomodate for users experiencing change aversion?

In order to bring the users who were averse to the new UI, we decided to provide transitional support through our launch. Dedicated feedback channels and an online support center helped us distribute our knowledge base. We also began a continued effort to track attitudes regularly through feedback loops, sales training, and customer support.

While we expected a bit of change aversion, we didn't expect such ecstatic feedback the day after launch - props to an absolutely fantastic team!

Feedback



Mobile



Takeaways and Next Steps πŸ’‘

Measure outcomes not output: It seems as though traditional development teams have a bias for measuring on quantitative output, rather than how successful a product lands with a user group. However, this project has taught us that the speed of the build should be less important than "what we build" and "why we are making it".

Introduce users early: I learned that if we begin testing and asking the right questions earlier, we're able to fail fast and more rapidly nail down which solutions work and which don't.

Design incrementally: We saw a huge amount of success in introducing features in small increments, rather than large sweeping changes. Doing this allows us to avoid changing our users' processes while still making our configurator more feature-rich.

Design Thinking as a team: This was my first project, and Advisar's first foray into using an iterative design process. Working solo, I needed to come up with a way to introduce a design process that works alongside the engineering team's agile process. See what I came up with!

Amongst competitors, we made a giant leap from a step-by-step configurator pattern, to a version that flattens the model and lets users index any option from any point in the process.

A huge shoutout goes out to the team on this one πŸ‘! I'm a solo designer on the team, but it's a true luxury to be able to design while also gauging development and business constraints in realtime. See how we implemented this in conjunction with our core application!